Tuesday, 22 May 2018
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U.S. looks to continue improvement at home

Evan Patak, far right, joins, from left, Andrew Hein, Matt Anderson and Sean Rooney in celebrating a great play on June 19 in Florence, Italy

The United States enters its third weekend of the 2009 FIVB World League happy to be home.


"It felt good to land yesterday," U.S. Head Coach Alan Knipe said. "That was a long World League trip. The good news is we got a lot of the travel out of the way. But it was nice to get back.


"We're looking forward to playing in front of a home crowd."


Team USA, ranked No. 2 in the world, will face China on June 26-27 at the San Jose State University Event Center Arena in California. San Jose is about 366 miles (589km) north of the U.S. Men's training home in Anaheim, Calif.


There is a large Chinese community in Northern California so the Chinese team will most likely have a good share of fans.


Team USA, the 2008 World League and Olympic champion, sits in second place in Group A behind Netherlands, with whom it split a pair of matches on June 12-13 in Rotterdam.


The United States went on to take two straight matches in Italy.


"The really encouraging thing is that we played better every match," Knipe said of the European trip.


China, ranked eighth in the world, opened its World League campaign by splitting two matches with Italy, but then lost two straight to the Netherlands.


The United States is 4-1 against China since 2004 and 40-12 since 1981.


The U.S. Men defeated China 3-0 (25-22, 25-12, 25-18) when the teams played in pool play at the 2008 Summer Games. China went on to finish in a four-way tie for fifth.


Knipe is looking for his team to continue its improvement – particularly on passing and blocking – no matter who the opponent is. He is also trying to get his younger players as much time on the court as possible without sacrificing its success.


"I like that we have a number of guys on the roster that are fairly interchangeable," Knipe said. "I feel good about the guys on the roster; we could put them in at any time."



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